If you’ve had the privilege of enjoying any Alternative Press video content over the past few years, chances are it’s the brainchild of APTV Manager Cassie Whitt.
What you might not know is that Miss Whitt is the actual queen of My Chemical Romance [I would not profess to be this, but thank you, Kika—Embarrassed APTV Manager] . Working with her in various capacities over the past year or so, I’ve come to learn that she’s done some pretty ridiculous things for MCR since she decreed them as her band-soulmate in 2004.
After months of hearing about random, insane things Cassie has done for My Chemical Romance, I finally had to put the question to rest—what are actually the craziest things she’s ever done for the band?
Here, presented over the course of an abridged, super-weird but equally entertaining hour-long interview, are the answers.
1. THE SHIRT
What year did you first see them?
Did you have the shirt in 2005? Can you tell me about the shirt?
When they opened for Green Day, I decided I needed to make my own MCR shirt. Gerard Way, at their very first show, wore a shirt he made that said “Thank You For The Venom.” Inside of the I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love album jacket it says that in French, so it's like: “Merci pour le venin.”
So I cut out ransom note-style letters and ironed them onto a shirt, and I wore just the shirt itself to the Green Day show, and I was like, “Man, this doesn't express my fuckin' inner darkness.” So, I punched grommets through the front and back of it and I got red string to lace up the front and back. It was a lot. I wore it to every show I could unless I went to like two shows in a row, then I would not be a nasty ass, and I would change my shirt. [Laughs.] Or if it was exceedingly hot like when I saw them for Projekt Revolution in Tampa in 2007. I was waiting in line from 6 a.m., and the venue literally ran out of water and my sunscreen melted, so I didn't want to wear black that day because it was horrible.
2. DESIGNING KILLJOYS GUNS AND BOOTS
— Cassie The Venomous (@PoisonAndFire) June 7, 2016
[Pointing at a Facebook picture] What’s that?
When “Killjoys” came out, I offered up painting Nintendo guns and masks for people. My friend Val commissioned this one and I made it for her.
What's the significance of that?
So the Killjoys were this sort of alter-ego when MCR did Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys. They're this post-apocalyptic gang that all have different weird names and have different weird colors and are really vibrant people. At that time, all of the fans also made up their own Killjoy alter-egos, so [Val] was “Platinum Destroya,” so I made her those Platinum Destroya accessories.
That's why I have these boots, too, because they're my Killjoys boots. For myself. My Killjoy was “Poison and Fire,” so I have this fire that's green with two crossed lightning bolts at the bottom. That was my symbol. I was kind of in a rush when I painted them. I did it at my Grandma's house and I had to finish it before I went to see them in Chicago in 2010.
3. BASICALLY INVENTING GERARD-INSPIRED HAIR
When did you first dye your hair into a different color?
Like, based on MCR? I first dyed it Gerard's half-black-half-red in 2007. I kept it for eight years. If you Google “Gerard Way hair,” mine is usually one of the first ones that comes up.
[Googling "Gerard Way hair.”] Well it used to be, but now it’s faded. I used to be in these images—oh, no there I am! “How to do Gerard Way hair,” that's my tutorial! This was before tutorials were cool. This is 2009, man.
Note: In 2015, she re-created this tutorial in video form:
4. STARTING #MCRCHAT
Can you tell me about the thing you started?
In 2009, I started #MCRhat (@MyChemChat), which was a question-guided, Twitter-based hashtag chat. You tagged #mcrchat and it brought up a whole feed of people talking about MCR. And it was about one of the first times that people used Twitter like that. I went to journalism school and there used to be a “#journchat,” and I was like, “Why can't I do this for a band?” So, I did it. It’s not really active anymore, but sometimes I try to have chats. It did accumulate 11,000 followers, which is cool. I get people hitting me up sometimes that say, “Hey, I miss MCRchat. Remember when this happened on MCRchat?”
5. THAT TIME SHE INVENTED A MEET AND GREET
This might be one of the craziest things I've done. On their Revenge tour, my friend and I went to among the first dates in Columbus and Michigan. In Michigan, we met these girls in line from whom we got separated because we found out our tickets were for the balcony, and they had floor tickets. So these girls went in, they got to the floor and they were in the front row and the people behind them were like, “Hey, if you let us have your spot, we'll trade you these meet and greet passes we have.”
They found out that the people had gotten their meet and greet passes by donating food for tsunami relief. The next show we were going to was in Georgia and we're like, “Let's donate some food.” We drove with canned goods all the way there and got in line really early.. We kept trying to be sneaky about it, walking up to the box office like, “Hey, we have food to donate, you know. You're supposed to get a meet and greet pass if you donate food.”
We caused a mass exodus of the people in line to the Kroger across the street. Venue staff kept coming out and they're like, “We haven't heard anything about this from the crew yet.” I feel like that wasn't supposed to happen. I feel like we kind of made that happen. That might be the craziest thing—going and being so determined about the possibility of meeting my favorite band that I made it happen. I don't know if I made it happen or if it was a thing that was happening already, but I feel like it was so early in the tour that we just sparked a weird movement.
Didn’t you, like, invent the history of MCR or something?
So back in the Killjoys era, I was in contact with one of the community managers for Warner Brothers who worked with fans on digital activations and interactive stuff. They hit me up and they're like, “Hey, would you wanna write a Wiki page for Danger Days?” And I was like, “Yes!”
I had been documenting the whole history of all these fictional characters that were around on Twitter at that point. So there was like, “Doctor Death Defying,” “Agent Cherri Cola,” and 'News-A-Go-Go'. There were just these mysterious Twitter accounts that came out of nowhere and would spout facts about the universe where the Killjoys lived. It's 2019, it's post this thing called “The Helium Wars,” and California, where it takes place, is basically just a barren wasteland. This corporation called Better Living Industries controls everything and they tried to wipe out all color, make everything monotonous and erase emotions and shit.
I had been tracking that obsessively for months,so I had all of the facts that I had found along the way,and I basically just wrote an entire Wiki page for it. I submitted it for them and they were like, “Oh, we decided not to go forward with this,” so it's on my blog.
You realize that's fucking crazy, what you did.
See, here's the thing. I don't realize these things are crazy—I just do them.
7. RUNNING FROM THE COPS
Can you tell me about more things you've just done?
I can tell you about when I ran from the cops. I could tell you about a lot of things of my car. Number one, I got a car in 2006 which was the year The Black Parade came out. It was actually 2005 when I got it, ‘cause I was fifteen and I had my permit. My mom, like as a nice thing, got me—I told her I wanted a custom license plate that said “MCR FAN,” so I got that and it was sort of motivational for me to start driving because I was horrified. So, I have my MCR FAN car, and I get my driver’s license around the time when The Black Parade comes out.
Oh, the other crazy thing I did with my car was when The Black Parade is Dead! the DVD was coming out, I like, chalk-painted that on my car. I wrote it all over my windows. They're on the Warner Brothers Street Team Photobucket.
So I remember like, getting my pre-order CD a day early and getting to school blasting it like: “FUCKING BLACK PARADE!” Actually, no. I had been blasting it before that because I had an MP3 player and what happened was, they played their first show at the Hammersmith Palais in England and someone recorded them playing “House of Wolves,” “Dead!,” and “The End.”
So I have the live audio of all of these songs and I've been blasting them—just static, horrible static, for a while—and then I got the pre-order and blasted it everywhere I went. One night, it was the first time I'd driven to somewhere that wasn't school. I had goe to a local show. I was leaving and I got on the highway, and it wasn't like a 70 mph highway, it's like a 60 mph highway. Like a country highway.
I pulled out and I was like, “I wonder how fast I can drive?” So I rolled down my windows, turned up “House of Wolves” as loud as possible and I slammed on my accelerator and I started going 80. Across the median, as soon as I went past, I saw these police lights come on and I was like, “Shit!” I sped up even more, got off at the first exit, took a bunch of side streets and escaped the cops while listening to MCR. That wasn't something I did for them, that's just something stupid I did.
8. OWNING WAY TOO MANY SHIRTS
I guess we could talk about my shirts, I think I have, like, 75 MCR shirts. I could count them all but I'm pretty sure it's around 75.
Do you have any doubles?
No. Oh! That's one crazy thing that I did. Now that I'm talking about it, I'm remembering the crazy things that I've done. So when I went to college, I wanted it to be known what I stood for. I needed people to know, so I wore a different MCR shirt every day for the first 40 days of college. [L[Laughs.]em>
Thank you, #MCR. Thank you for grabbing me by the shoulders when I was 14 and convincing me not to throw my life away. For allowing me to be a part of something larger than myself and larger than most people will ever understand. For giving me something to believe in so violently that sometimes it hurt, but most often it lit fire inside of me to want to change the world with you. For growing up with me, for the past 9 years of my life, for a place to find comfort when nothing felt like home, for the journey. You made me who I am today, and I will forever carry your message and art with me. From the core of my every fibre, I love you, My Chemical Romance.
Can you tell me about the day they broke up?
No. No, I can't.
Well, here's another weird thing with them. I feel like moments in my life have always corresponded with big moments in MCR's career. I started high school with Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge was coming out, I graduated college on the eighth anniversary of Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. I started driving right around when The Black Parade came out.
I was actually getting ready to move into my first apartment that I would be paying for myself the night [t[the break-up]appened. I was like, actively painting a wall to get ready to move out of my cousin's. All I had at that time was a suitcase, so I had all of my stuff packed, and I got an email from someone at Warner and they were like, “Hey guys, just want to give you a heads up on this,” to me and the other moderators of the MCRmy.
Of course, I was working here so I had to post about it. So, my heart is falling out and I can't breathe and I posted the story. I was so frazzled that I spelled their name wrong, I called them like, “My Chemical Romane.” [<[Laughs.]t was horrible.
I think the good thing about it, though, is because I was moving, I didn't have internet for a week, so I was able to get past any sort of weird rumors or bitterness, and I was able to reflect on what they meant to me—how I could carry on what they did. It was good because I was able to find my own way to come to some sort of peace with it. Then I saw Death Spells a week or two after that and Gerard was here to design our 300th issue a week or two after that. Right after they broke up basically, I saw Gerard and Frank almost immediately afterward, the weirdest coincidence.
10. WHEN SHE DESIGNED AN ACTUAL BLACK PARADE PARADE FLOAT
When you say that before they broke up you were reached out to as an “MCRmy moderator,” what does that mean?
The MCRmy was originally a street team run by Warner Bros. Records. They would send out fliers and physical promo items, and for a long time I was doing that. I would do projects. Like one time, they had a Hot Topic window display contest and I made a parade float out of posters of MCR.
Cassie, you can't leave out these things!
I forget that they are crazy! I convinced my local Hot Topic to put it in their window. The fans did this scrapbook called “The Santa Parade,” and it was all of us going to mall Santas, like, having them hold fliers. I have a picture with Santa holding Black Parade posters.
What else did I do for them? Before The Black Parade came out, they sent out a bunch of fliers that said “We Are The Black Parade.” I put them everywhere—didn't know what the fuck they meant, but they went everywhere. Hot Topic started selling a shirt for $8.00 that said, “We Are The Black Parade.” No one knew what it fucking meant, but we all went out and bought it because we had a hunch. I still have that. I still have all of my shirts, what am I talking about.
Okay, so, yeah, the official MCRmy started as a street team and there were message boards on the street team website, but then The Street Network, which it was a part of, got shut down. I guess there was really no use to sending physical promo because things were all digital, so instead it got turned into a message board because we would have rioted. I was appointed as a moderator when it came back as a message board. That's what the moderator thing is.